ZocdocAnswersHow does the gallbladder affect nausea?

Question

How does the gallbladder affect nausea?

How does the gallbladder affect nausea? I had to have my gallbladder removed when I was younger due to a dangerous obstruction of it, and I notice now that I'm more easily nauseating by everything and anything than the average person is. Is this an effect of losing some nausea-suppressing function of that organ?

Answer

Disorders of the gallbladder can certainly cause symptoms of nausea, but typically the gallbladder is not thought of as an organ that affects the sensation of nausea after it is removed. Inflammation of the gallbladder and obstruction of the ducts that drain bile from the gallbladder to the small intestine (such as with gallstones) often cause nausea and vomiting and can be a strong indication for surgical removal of the gallbladder. The gallbladder serves the body as a holding place for bile, which is a substance produced in the liver. The bile typically travels down the hepatic duct and gets stored in the gallbladder until it is released in response to signals that let the gallbladder know that food has been recently ingested. At this point, the gallbladder contracts and helps propel the bile into the small intestine, where it mixes with food and ultimately helps in the digestion process. Without a gallbladder in place, bile made in the liver drains directly into the small intestine without stopping in the gallbladder to be stored for a period of time. Over-excretion of bile can lead to diarrhea in some patients, but typically nausea is not a problem outside of the immediate post-operative period. You should tell your primary care physician about your symptoms, so that he or she may conduct a thorough history and physical exam to help determine the underlying cause of your nausea.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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